Tag Archives: Museums-Archives-Historic Sites

Q&A: Rebecca Goldman of SAA’s SNAP Roundtable


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In January 2012, the Society of American Archivists (SAA), the national professional association for archivists and other information professionals responsible for historical records, approved the formation of the Students and New Archives Professionals Roundtable (SNAP). A much-needed and welcome resource for those considering, actively pursuing, or transitioning into the archives profession, SNAP was founded by its current chair, Rebecca Goldman, who is also Media and Digital Services Librarian at La Salle University in Philadelphia and the author of the popular archives webcomic Derangement and Description.

The Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York recently chatted with Goldman about her decision to form SNAP, SNAP’s goals and future direction(s), archival education and professional involvement, opportunities for students and new professionals in the tight job market, and other SNAP-ish themes.

ART: What was the main impetus for your establishing the SNAP Roundtable?

RG: Ever since my first Annual Meeting in 2010, I’ve been thinking about the representation of new archivists within SAA and within the profession. I put up a comic that summarized all the things I was thinking about, and it generated some good discussion, but nothing really came of it. Then, about a year ago, I read that ALA had started a Young Professionals Working Group, and thought, hey, why doesn’t SAA have a group like that? I posted my question to Twitter, Council member Kate Theimer saw it and suggested I try to start a roundtable, and the rest, I suppose, is history. Any SAA member can propose a new roundtable, but until Kate suggested it, it hadn’t really occurred to me as something that I could do.

ART: The SNAP website features an impressive listing of your many goals as an organization. Looking just at SNAP’s first year, is there any goal in particular that has been or will be the main priority? What projects or initiatives reflecting this goal would you like to see happen during SNAP’s first year?

RG: When I first raised the idea of forming a roundtable for new archivists, I had the following goals in mind:

•Advocate for new archivists within SAA and within the archival profession
•Provide a space for discussion of issues affecting new archivists
•Allow new archivists to gain leadership experience through roundtable service

I think we’ve met that second goal already–the SNAP list is both a very active discussion area and a welcoming community for new archivists. We’ve also made some progress in reaching out to other SAA groups (our Liaison Coordinator, Sasha Griffin, has been really instrumental here). And SAA is definitely taking note of us. If you take a look at the agenda items for SAA’s next Council meeting, an awful lot of them mention SNAP. What’s proving more difficult is taking all the great ideas generated on our list and turning these into projects for SNAP to work on. So my goal for our first year would be to come up with a process for starting new projects: appointing leaders, documentation, tracking progress, etc. I also feel that much of the discussion has been focused on students and un(der)employed new archivists, and that our goal of supporting well-employed new archivists, as they move from entry-level to mid-career or managerial positions, has been overlooked. I’d like to keep a broader definition of new archivist in mind as SNAP moves forward.

ART: As SAA’s representative student agency, it would seem that SNAP is uniquely suited to advocate for changes and/or improvements to graduate archival education programs. Has there been any discussion along these lines thus far among the SNAP leadership? If so, in what ways does SNAP envision that archival education programs could better serve their students?

RG: Judging from recent conversations on the SNAP list, one of the biggest areas of concern is archival internships–both publicizing the need for internship or other work experience during grad school, and making sure that internships are conducted in a way that’s ethical and educational. I would love to see SNAP produce guidelines for graduate student internships. As far as changes to the educational programs themselves–we could certainly advocate for changes, but SAA doesn’t accredit archives programs, and their Guidelines for a Graduate Program in Archival Studies were just revised in 2011. Right now, I don’t see a whole lot of room for SNAP contributions in this area.

ART: Although SNAP primarily serves students and early professionals who are already pursuing careers as archivists, do you intend for SNAP to also play a leading role in SAA’s outreach efforts to recruit new professionals to the archives field? What potential strategies do you think might be effective in better promoting the archives profession as a career option?

RG: I don’t know too many new archivists who would recommend entering the archives field right now. There aren’t even enough jobs for all the recent grads. I’d rather see SAA do one or both of the following things:

•recruit related professionals–people working in jobs with archives-related responsibilities who may not identify as archivists or see the need for SAA membership. These related professionals are one of the target audiences for SNAP, because their work-related needs are similar to those of archives students and new archives professionals.

•promote the importance of archives to organizations and communities that don’t already have them. If you’re an organization and you want to start an archives, or hire an archival consultant, SAA has you covered. But that assumes you know enough about archivists to know why you’d need one. What about outreach to the people with the power to create job opportunities for new archivists?

ART: As SNAP’s Chair, what would your advice be to students and early-career archivists looking to become more involved in the professional archives community, either at the local, regional, or national level? Aside from joining SNAP, of course.

RG: SAA (and, to a lesser extent, the local and regional archives organizations) can absolutely seem intimidating as a newcomer. If you want to get involved with a group or project, just ask! Every SAA section and roundtable lists their leaders, and if you’re an SAA member you can log in to get their contact information. All the SAA leaders I’ve met would love to get more new archivists involved in their groups. I can’t speak for every regional group, but I’ve found MARAC to be pretty friendly, and they had a great session at their spring meeting explaining all the ways new members and new archivists could get involved. Local groups: I’ve tried and failed multiple times to get involved with mine. Some are awesome (like ART :) ), but I’ve found that small local orgs can be clique-y and very difficult to break into. As a general piece of advice, if you’re ever in a situation where you’re networking with other archivists–like a conference, or a local meeting–assume that people are shy rather than unfriendly.

I’d also recommend starting a Twitter account and following some archivists on Twitter (Kate Theimer has a good list to start off on Twitter). The relative merits of Twitter vs. the Archives and Archivists list has been much debated, but I will say that as a new archivist I find asking questions via Twitter to be quick, easy, and not too intimidating.

Nick Pavlik is a member of the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York and serves as archivist for the 92nd Street Y, one of New York City’s preeminent community and cultural institutions.

New York Archives Month in New York City


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Hundreds of organizations in the archives community across New York State will celebrate New York Archives Month in October with special commemorative activities across the state. New York Archives Week is an annual celebration aimed at informing the general public of the diverse array of archival materials available in New York State.

Among the many activities free and open to the public will be open houses, exhibitions, lectures, workshops and behind-the-scenes tours of archives throughout the state. These special events are designed to celebrate the importance of historical records, and to familiarize interested organizations and the public with a wealth of fascinating archival materials illuminating centuries of New York history and culture.

Among those participating in the event are local government agencies, historical societies, universities, libraries, and cultural organizations. Highlights in New York City include tours of the archives at the Museum of the City of New York, the Girl Scout National Historic Preservation Center, and the New York Transit Museum; a workshop on preserving family papers at the National Archives at New York City; and open house presentations at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc.

A complete list of Archives Week events and schedules in New York City can be found on the Archivists Round Table of Metropolitan New York’s website. Please note that pre-registration for some events is required.

Photo: Lockport and the Erie Canal, Courtesy the NYS Archives.

Guest Essay: The State of Dutchess County History


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What follows is a guest essay by Peter Feinman of the Institute of History, Archaeology, and Education (IHARE).



Over the last few months, IHARE has initiated a Dutchess County History Conference and a series of brown-bag lunches in different parts of the county. Based on the these events, I would like to make the following comments on the topic.



1. Dutchess County Historian

Numerous people raised the issue of the lack of a Dutchess County historian. This statutory-required position is seen as the leader of the Duchess County history community. Therefore the absence of such an individual directly contributes to the fractured community which exists at present. The up-coming election for County Executive provides an opportunity to redress this condition. Drew Nicholson,

Village of Pawling Municipal historian is preparing a job description identifying the scope and activities relevant to the position. He is drawing on the Putnam County notices for a new county historian. If you have any ideas you would like to share with him, he can be reached at dan.ddn@comcast.net. One of the participants in the recent programs expressed interest in becoming the County Historian should the new

County Executive seek to fill the position.

2. Dutchess County Archives

See above. The absence contrasts with Westchester County which just reopened its redesigned archive center. This is a major project which will require outside funding. Presumably, the new County Historian would play a leading role in this process.

.3 Dutchess County Heritage Days

In April, the County Legislature designated the ten-day period from October 23 to November 1 each year as “Dutchess County Heritage Days.” This is related to the upcoming 300th anniversary in 2013 of the creation of the county on October 23, 1713. The chairman of the legislature is authorized to appoint an ad hoc county committee to

plan appropriate program activities for the celebration. The committee is to consist of the county historian and a fair representation of the various land patents and town historians. Furthermore, the legislature expressed the hopeful expectation that schools, historians and community groups would actively promote and encourage appreciation for the many aspects of Dutchess County’s past.

Presumably the legislature also is expressing the hopeful expectation that a county historian will be appointed.

There is no obligation to wait until 2013 to celebrate the County’s history. With the new school year fast approaching, now [meaning in a few weeks after vacations] is the time for schools, municipal historians, and historical societies to begin planning events at the local level for the Heritage commemoration beginning this October.

4. Heritage Ramble for Dollars

The recent release of the Ramble schedule for 2011 reveals some of the strengths and weakness of heritage planning in the County. While there are many events in scheduled in the County, they are not done so in a way which maximizes the revenue from them or which enhances a sense of place, a sense of community, a sense of belonging in the

county. Consider, for example, the events scheduled for Beacon:

9/10 9:00 Denning’s Point Kayak Tour

9/10 10:00 Madam Brett Sites Ramble

9/10 1:30 Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour

9/11 1:30 Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour

9/11 12:00 Woody Guthrie Sail

9/17 1:30 Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour

9/18 1:30 Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour

9/24 10:00 Denning?s Point Walk and Talk

9/24 11:00 Kayak and Paddleboard Demo Day

9/24 1:30 Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour

9/25 9:00 Mount Beacon Fire Tower Restoration Project

9/25 9:00 Beacon Incline Railway Hike 3 hours

9/25 1:00 One River Many Streams Folk Festival

9/25 1:30 Bannerman Island Cruise and Walking Tour

with no Beacon Main Street Walking Tour listed.

How exactly can the Dutchess County Tourism Department, [representatives presented at the Dutchess County History Conference and attended two of the brown-bag lunches] go to MetroNorth or bus tour operators or market visiting Beacon with such a haphazard

schedule of events? Some events are simultaneous, some are overlapping, some are days apart because they are created individually at the organization level without overall coordination or planning. What opportunities are being missed for tourist revenue, sales taxes, and promoting community spirit by such a schedule? Similar listings

could be created for other communities in the county as well. The point is not to focus criticism on one municipality here but to use it as a case study for a county-wide issue.

With Heritage Days October 23- November 1 and New York Heritage Weekend May 19-20, 2012, each community to will the opportunity to develop to create a more focused celebration of its heritage.

5. Mid-Hudson Social Studies Council (MHSSC)

This annual conference for social studies teachers takes place on Election Day in Cornwall. I have requested that a session in the conference be devoted to Dutchess County History and that organizations be allowed to exhibit display tables with their school programs. Even if the Board accepts my proposals, the logistical challenge of going back and forth to Cornwall for a day will discourage many teachers in the county from attending, assuming they even know about it in the first place. This raises the issue of what are the best venues for reaching teachers about local and county history including for professional development and college credit.

I will be sending a version of this essay to the county schools and teachers as we get a little closer to the new school year.

Update on Finger Lakes Museum Efforts


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The president of The Finger Lakes Museum’s board of trustees announced that the project’s Founders Campaign is nearing the halfway mark in an endeavor to raise $1 million by December 31st. The drive is financing operations at the former Branchport Elementary School, including hiring staff, and paying consultants for architectural and exhibit design services.

Board President John Adamski said, “The Founders Campaign was launched by the board late last year and has resulted in hundreds of donations that range from $100 to $100,000. We’re almost halfway there but there is still a long way to go.” He is asking people from across the Finger Lakes Region to consider making a tax-deductible contribution to the project. Significant funding has been received from the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation and the Rochester Area Community Foundation. “We are also looking for program sponsors,” he added.

Anyone, including regional businesses, can become a founder of The Finger Lakes Museum by making a contribution of $100 or more. Donors will receive a founders’ certificate, vehicle decal, and have their names permanently inscribed as members of the Founders Society on the Founders Wall in the entrance to the main museum building. Contributions can be made online or mailed to the museum at PO Box 96, Keuka Park, NY, 14478.

The Finger Lakes Museum is an initiative to build a premier educational institution in Keuka Lake State Park to showcase the cultural heritage and ecological evolution of the 9,000 square-mile Finger Lakes Region. It was chartered by the New York State Board of Regents in 2009 and is operating from development offices in the school, which it purchased from the Penn Yan Central School District last January.

Adamski said that the project is being planned to become a primary tourist destination that will feature one of the largest freshwater fish aquariums in the Northeast. Studies show that it has the potential to increase tourism in the Finger Lakes Region and create hundreds of jobs in the private sector, he said.

Adamski also announced the election of two new members to the organization’s board of trustees. Tim Sellers of Geneva, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Keuka College, and retired lumber executive John Meisch of Rushville were both elected in a unanimous vote. Adamski said, “Tim’s expertise as a limnologist and professor of biology and environmental science will be a tremendous asset in planning the natural history component of the museum. We are all very excited to have him aboard.”

He also said, “And John Meisch brings a lifetime of business management experience and a working knowledge of American History to the board, which balances the cultural history component. I think that we’ve hit two home runs here.” The addition of Sellers and Meisch brings the number of board members to 13.

For more information or to make contact, see www.fingerlakesmuseum.org.

Olana Third Thursdays Curator Tours


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The Olana Partnership and the Olana State Historic Site have announced the remaining Third Thursdays Curator Tour Series. The Curator Tour Series provides an unprecedented, behind-the-scenes opportunity to experience Olana under the guide of its curatorial staff. Tours will showcase Olana’s latest exhibition in the Evelyn & Maurice Sharp Gallery and include a component that focuses on Olana’s artist-designed landscape.

These tours are held on the Third Thursday of each month from 5:30-7pm. Each tour will feature its own unique theme and explore many of the various influences that impacted Frederic Church and his design of Olana.

Sara Griffen, President of The Olana Partnership explains that the tour series evolved out of an interest from the community to have more one-on-one time with our curatorial staff: “We have inaugurated this series in response to frequent requests that we offer more in-depth tours, whereby visitors can study the landscape, objects, and architecture in a more leisurely fashion – we hope this provides a new opportunity for the public to enjoy the riches of this magnificent site.”

The series also features wine tastings from some of the regions that had the deepest influence on Frederic Church and his work.

The remaining 2011 tour schedule is as follows:

August 18: Creating a Composition: Frederic Church applied his artistic talent to so much more than his monumental paintings. Olana can be seen as a three-dimensional artistic composition – a living landscape painting he spent decades perfecting. Olana’s curators will lead visitors through the property sharing the many artistic compositions created by Church, from the careful artistic arrangement of objects in the home’s interiors, to the painterly scenes he created outdoors through his own landscaping efforts.

September 15: Influences on Design: The development of the Persian-inspired house grew out of the artist’s experiences in the Near East and the inspirations found in the many books and photographs that he collected during his travels. The artist was also impacted by contemporary trends in American architecture and landscape design. Both these influences permeate the work he continued outside his home in the development of the outbuildings and the landscape. The curators will explain how these sources combined with Church’s own intensely personal artistic expression at Olana.

Space is limited. Tickets are $40 for members of The Olana Partnership, $50 for non-members. To reserve, please call (518) 828-1872 x 103 by the preceding Wednesday. Tours are subject to cancellation without minimum registration. The Behind-the-Scenes Curator Tour is also available for private functions upon special request and availability.

Olana State Historic Site is located at 5720 State Route 9G, Hudson, NY 12534.

Albany Institute’s Free, Discount Admission Days


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The Albany Institute of History & Art has announced that it will offer a special discount admission program on Fridays and Saturdays in July and August 2011 as part of an ongoing effort to reach out to members of the Capital District community.

On each Friday in July and August, the Albany Institute will offer free admission to all visitors during regular museum hours, from 10 am to 5 pm. There will be no charge for any visitors to enter the museum and see the galleries on the following dates: July 22, 29, and August 5, 12, 19, and 26.

Additionally, the Institute will offer buy-one-get-one-free admission on Saturdays throughout July and August during regular museum hours from 10 am to 5 pm. Any adult or child visitor purchasing one admission will be entitled to one free admission of equal or lesser value. Buy-one-get-one-free Saturday dates are: July 2, 9, 16, 23, 30 and August 6, 13, 20, and 27.

This program is not available in combination with any other discount or coupon offers and does not apply to group tours, facilities rentals, or special events. For more information about the summer discount admission program, please call (518) 463-4478. To learn more about current exhibitions and events, visit www.albanyinstitute.org.

Free admission to the Albany Institute of History & Art is funded in part with a Museums for America grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency.

Saratoga Automobile Museum Names New Chair


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Trustees of the Saratoga Automobile Museum (SAM) unanimously elected Gloversville businessman Charles Montano as Board Chairman at their annual election meeting of the trustees in May.

Montano becomes the fourth Board Chair of the Museum, joining the late founder and initial chairman Lewis Golub of Lake George, Bob Bailey of Diamond Point and the most recent chairperson, Jean Hoffman of Clifton Park, as head of the Board of Trustees. Other board officers elected at the meeting included Seth Rosner of Saratoga Springs as Vice-Chairman, Dr. James Hoehn of Menands as Treasurer and Robert Ensign, Jr. of Latham as Secretary. Chairs of the board’s various sub-committees will be announced at a later date.

A Gloversville native, Montano owns and operates a commercial/industrial rental business with divisions specializing in apartments and luxury home development in the downstate area. He is also a well known automobile collector, with a number of “Woodies” from his collection the focus of a recent exhibit in the Museum’s Golub gallery.

“Cars with wooden bodies have always fascinated me,” offered Montano. “But they only represent a segment of my collection and my interests. I truly love all aspects of the automotive world.

“As chairman of the Board of Trustees, my goal is to continue and expand our programs that bring these diverse communities together. Whether your focus is woodies, the brass era, auto racing, classic cars, any of the diverse makes that highlight our lawn shows or our automotive-themed educational programs, the Auto Museum is your place and I want everyone to feel welcome here.”

“Charlie Montano epitomizes the caliber of leadership and automobile enthusiasm the Museum needs to continue advancing the exceptional cultural enrichment we strive to provide for our growing communities,” said Taylor C. Wells, SAM Executive Director.

SAM Board members fulfilling their current terms include Bob Bailey, David Darrin, Wayne Freihofer, Ron Hedger, Jean Hoffman, Tony Ianniello, Eric King, Ed Lewi, Lee Miller, and Alan Rosenblum.

The mission of the Saratoga Automobile Museum is to preserve, interpret and exhibit automobiles and automotive artifacts. We celebrate the automobile and educate the general public, students and enthusiasts regarding the role of the automobile in New York State and in the wider world. In addition to technical and design aspects, our educational focus is on the past, present and future social and economic impact of the automobile

The Museum is chartered by the Board of Regents of the State of New York Department of Education as a not-for-profit institution. Additionally, the Museum is a member of the American Association of Museums (AAM) and the National Association of Automobile Museums (NAAM).

The Saratoga Automobile Museum is located on the grounds of Saratoga Spa State Park at 110 Avenue of the Pines. For more information, guests can visit the Museum’s website at www.saratogaautomuseum.org or call (518) 587-1935.

Brodsky Praises Regents Collection Sales Reform


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Former Assemblyman Richard Brodsky, now Senior Fellow at Demos and the Wagner School at NYU, has released the following statement in response to the New York State Board of Regents enactment of deaccessioning regulations which closely track his legislative efforts over the past ten years:

“The regulations adopt the principle that museum collection should not be monetized for the purposes of operating expenses and assert the public trust and the public interest with respect to museum collections.

This is an extraordinary moment in the cultural history of the state. The Regents, under the leadership of Merryl Tisch and Committee on Cultural Education Chairman Roger Tilles, have vindicated fundamental cultural values, and help preserve New York’s museum collections for future generations. New York is again leading the nation and the world as new economic realities endanger museum collections everywhere. Repeated attempts to deaccession collections in order to pay bills has been a painful and repeated reality. It sets forth rules that permit institutions to function but protects the public interest in collections that the public has helped assemble.

The heart of this struggle has been to prevent the selling off of collections for the purposes of operating expenses. That principle has long been asserted by the museum community itself and groups such as the American Association of Museum Directors and the Museum Association of New York, have been stalwart and uncompromising in their principled positions. This victory would not have been achieved without their leadership.

It is important to note that the regulations leave with individual museums the decision about what to collect and what to deaccession. What the regulations do is assure that the current economic crisis will not result in a massive shift of publicly accessible art into private hands.

Our legislation would have extended these principles to all New York museums. There remain a handful of legislatively chartered institutions that are not subject to Regents supervision. I urge them to explicitly adopt these principles even as the Legislature continues to consider how best to set one uniform standard for all New York museums.

New York is the cultural capital of the world. We enjoy the generosity of private donors and philanthropists, huge numbers of semi public and public institutions, and the populous that supports and enjoys its thousands of museums. This action today by the Board of Regents will assure New York’s continued leadership and preeminence. My special thanks to my colleagues Matthew Titone and Steve Englebright who continue to lead this legislative effort, to MANY Director Anne Ackerson, to Michael Botwinick, Director of the Hudson River Museum and Vice President of MANY, Regent James Dawson, the staff of the Department of Education, and to the thousands of involved and passionate New Yorkers who insisted that our collections be protected.”

A pdf pf the rule can be found here.

Illustration: Gleyna, or A View Near Ticonderoga. The 1826 Thomas Cole painting held by the Fort Ticonderoga Museum which faced the possibility of selling a portion of it’s collection in recent years.

Adirondack Museum Offers Locals Free Admission


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The Adirondack Museum is introducing two new programs just for year-round Adirondack Park residents. The Adirondack Museum invites year-round residents of the Adirondack Park to visit free of charge every Sunday, and on all open days in May and October. Proof of residency such as a driver’s license, passport, or voter registration card is required.

The Adirondack Museum has also introduced a new “Friends and Neighbors” Adirondack Park Resident Membership Program. Year-round Park residents can now enjoy all the museum has to offer every day of the season through a very special program that makes museum membership more affordable than ever before – half the regular price at the Individual, Companion, and Family levels. Call the membership office for more information: (518) 352-7311 ext. 112 or email mbashaw@adkmuseum.org.



Two new exhibits will open at the Adirondack Museum on May 27: “The Adirondack World of A.F. Tait” and “Night Vision: The Wildlife Photography of Hobart V. Roberts.”

The museum is open 10:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., 7 days a week, including holidays, from May 27 through October 17, 2011. There will be an early closing on August 12, and adjusted hours on August 13; the museum will close for the day on September 9. Please visit www.adirondackmuseum.org for details.



Photo: The Museum’s “Living with Wilderness” exhibit, photograph by Richard Walker.

Boscobel Celebrates its 50th Birthday


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Flash back to 1961: the average house cost $12,500, the average car $2,850 and a gallon of gas cost 27 cents. And if you weren’t watching West Side Story or dancing the pony to Chubby Checkers, you may very well have hopped in the old Pontiac Bonneville and cruised over to Boscobel Restoration where house tours were $1 for adults and 60 cents for children. A mansion tour guided by friendly docents, vistas of the Hudson River and groomed gardens with a pond and fountains – a great value even back then.

In May of 1961, Boscobel Restoration, now known as Boscobel House & Gardens, opened its gates and mansion doors to the public for the very first time. Since then, it’s provided the community –and thousands of visitors from around the globe!– with a historic site that offers breathtaking views, guided house tours, stunning gardens, as well as a variety of special events, concerts, performances and programs. This coming season includes 30+ events, including a very special celebration from 1-4pm on Sunday, May 22nd to commemorate Boscobel’s 50th birthday with free grounds and party admission and 1961 house tour rates.

To help celebrate, a variety of area businesses are donating their time and services to create a truly special event: B&L Deli & Catering, Chalet on the Hudson Restaurant, Classic Tent & Party Rentals, Dutchess Manor, Durants Party Rentals, Fresh Company Catering, Highland Baskets/Country Goose, Jonathan Kruk, Storyteller, Pamela’s Traveling Feasts Catering, Rood’s Special Events Florist, Silver Spoon Restaurant and Thaddeus MacGregor, Musician.

“We wanted to not only celebrate Boscobel’s Birthday, but also provide an opportunity for people to experience Boscobel’s grounds at no cost and a house tour at extremely reduced rates. Where else can you step back in time, enjoy an hour-long guided house tour and inspirational views of the Hudson River for only one dollar? And children 5 to 12 are only 60 cents!” says Acting Executive Director Carolin Serino. “It’s a truly retro endeavor to create another historic moment…which is what Boscobel is all about.”

Free grounds admission 9:30am-5pm; party starts at 1pm and ends at 4pm. Boscobel is located on scenic Route 9D in Garrison New York just one mile south of Cold Spring and directly across the river from West Point. From April through October, hours are 9:30am to 5pm (first tour at 10am, last at 4pm). The House Museum and distinctive Gift Shop at Boscobel are open every day except Tuesdays, May 15, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. For more information, visit Boscobel.org or call 845.265.3638.

Photos: Above, Boscobel House & Gardens today; below, Boscobel Restoration under construction in Garrison, NY circa 1961.

Champlain Maritime Museum Announces Changes


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The Lake Champlain Maritime Museum (LCMM) is undergoing its first change in leadership in the 26 years since it was founded. Art Cohn and LCMM’s Board of Directors have just unveiled their transition plan for the next years of leadership for LCMM.

This fall, Art Cohn, co-founder and executive director, will take on the new role of Senior Advisor and Special Projects Director, while Erick Tichonuk and Adam Kane, both longtime members of the museum staff, will ascend to the position of Co-Executive Directors.

Tichonuk will have primary responsibility for the fleet, museum programs and operations, while Kane will be Archaeological Director of LCMM’s Maritime Research Institute. They will work in tandem on the overall leadership of LCMM.

In a letter sent to community leaders, museum members and supporters, Cohn explained “Several years ago I began to ponder the prospect of transition, and I came to believe that passing leadership of the museum to the next generation was perhaps the most important responsibility I would have. Over the years, I have focused very hard on identifying and recruiting the best and brightest to the museum with the hope and expectation that the next generation of leaders would be among them. I am pleased to report that they were.”

Sandy Jacobs, LCMM Board Chair from 2006 to 2009, and Darcey Hale, incoming Board Chair who took office on May 1, elaborated: “The museum is what it is today because of the vision that Art Cohn and Bob Beach had 26 years ago, Art’s skillful leadership, his devotion to every aspect of the institution and, most of all, his passion for everything that relates to Lake Champlain. As many of you have so aptly stated, ‘Art is the Maritime Museum.’ Adam Kane and Erick Tichonuk have worked closely with Art for many years, helping to shape the values and the culture of the museum, and they have been thoughtful and thorough in their proposal for carrying forward the Museum’s mission and vision. We are confident that under their leadership the museum will continue to grow and to flourish.” “Two more talented, dedicated and thoughtful people you could not find,” Cohn declared, “I am so pleased for them and for the museum family.”

The announcement comes as the Maritime Museum prepares to launch into a typically busy “open” season. Kane is deploying teams of LCMM nautical archaeologists to fieldwork and consultations in Onondaga Lake and Lake George as well as Lake Champlain, while Tichonuk directs the installation of the museum’s new exhibits, readies the Philadelphia II and Lois McClure for the new season, and works with waterfront communities around the lake in anticipation of the schooner’s “Farm and Forest” tour this summer. In the months ahead, LCMM’s Board and leadership staff will also be engaged in a strategic planning process that will chart LCMM’s future course. “This is a wonderful opportunity for all of us to reach out and celebrate the Lake Champlain Maritime Museum – past, present and future,” Hale exclaims. “We are sincerely grateful to all of the many people who over the years have demonstrated their support, interest, and belief that LCMM plays a vital role in the history and well being of our region and far beyond.” Cohn concurs: “We have just celebrated LCMM’s twenty-fifth anniversary year, and this positive transition plan provides assurance that the museum will build upon its accomplishments and be even more productive in the years to come.”

Photo: LCMM Co-founder and Executive Director Art Cohn (center) with Erick Tichonuk (left) and Adam Kane, who will become Co-Executive Directors of Lake Champlain Maritime Museum in the fall.

Irish Heritage Museum Moving to Albany


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The Irish American Heritage Museum has announced that it is moving into a new home at 370 Broadway in downtown Albany, NY. The Museum is completely modernizing the ground floor of the historic 19th century Meginniss Building in what has been a gutted century-old space to transform it into a state-of-the art, year-round exhibit and educational facility that also will house its O’Dwyer Research Library.

“In celebration of our 25th year of meeting our educational goals and the vision of our late founding Chair of the Board of Trustees Joseph J. Dolan, Jr., the Museum is moving into a new year-round, multi-faceted and expansive exhibit facility that will allow us to host large numbers of visitors as well as school and public groups for exhibit viewing, lectures, and other presentations throughout the year,” stated Edward Collins, Chair of the Museum’s Board of Trustees. “Further, our new Museum facility will be more accessible to the general public and provide downtown Albany with new vitality.”

Collins said of the Museum’s decision to move into downtown Albany from its part-time, summer seasonal exhibit facility in East Durham, Greene County: “The Irish have played such a central role in the history of this great city and region, from literally building Albany – and surrounding cities, villages and towns – from the earth up to protecting these areas and their people, to leading the people in every aspect of life in Albany and the surrounding region. Name a profession, occupation, leadership position or community service, and the Irish have had a central role in Albany’s life and the lives of those throughout the great northeast. The Museum’s Trustees, especially the late Joe Dolan, value greatly this rich legacy and seek to pass it forward to new generations of New Yorkers and Americans.”

The Museum expects to formally open its new, renovated facility at 370 Broadway, Albany, in September. It will move from The Michael J. Quill Irish Cultural and Sports Centre in East Durham, Greene County, which owns the summer seasonal exhibit facility previously leased by the Museum on Rt. 145 in that hamlet; the Quill Center will assume residency in that facility. The Museum will continue to partner with the Quill Center through loans of its exhibits to the Quill Center.

Albany Mayor Jerry Jennings joined in lauding the Irish American Heritage Museum’s move to the city. In a statement, Mayor Jennings said, “This museum is an important part of our community, inspiring countless residents and visitors to discover the story and may contributions of the Irish people and their culture in America, and even learn a bit about their own heritage along the way.”

Museum to Launch New Fundraising Campaign

The Museum will be launching a new fundraising campaign to help it sustain its mission and to provide future Capital Region generations a sense of the importance of their own heritage compass – whatever their heritage legacy might be – to help guide them in their lives. “In an age when we are all connected to each other through the internet, cell phones and so many other electronic devices, we would serve younger generations well by helping them stay connected to their heritage,” Collins explained. “The Museum is committed to the basic tenet that preserving one’s heritage is vital to providing a cultural and historical foundation to future generations of Americans. To paraphrase the Pulitzer Prize winning historian David McCullough, ‘Our heritage is who we are, and why we are who we are.’“

Union College to Aquire Adirondack Library


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Union College has entered into an agreement with the private conservation group Protect the Adirondacks! (PROTECT) to purchase a building complex in Niskayuna that includes the former home of the noted Adirondack conservationist Paul Schaefer (1908-1996) and a modern addition that houses the Adirondack Research Library.

The decision to acquire the two-acre property on St. David’s Lane and preserve and expand its use as an educational learning center “reaffirms and builds upon the College’s long connection to the Adirondacks,” college officials said in a prepared statement.

“This is an exceptional opportunity to provide a home for and advance the College’s curricular and co-curricular offerings related to mountains, wilderness and waterways in general and to the Adirondacks in particular,” said College President Stephen C. Ainlay. An anonymous donor has made it possible for the College to purchase the property.

The property is located on a two-acre parcel of land, three miles from the Union College campus, adjacent to the adjacent 111-acre H. G. Reist Wildlife Sanctuary, which is stewarded by the Hudson-Mohawk Bird Club. The complex includes a 2,400 square-foot Dutch replica home built by Schaefer in 1934 used for offices and meetings and a 3,900 square-foot addition completed in 2005 that houses additional offices, conference rooms, and the Adirondack Research Library.

The library, which contains more than 15,000 volumes, as well as extensive collections of maps, photographs, documents and the personal papers of some of the region’s foremost conservationists, was the creation of Paul Schaefer. The building is surrounded by award-winning perennial gardens that have been maintained by Garden Explorers of Niskayuna and a bluestone amphitheatre used for public lectures and musical events.

PROTECT was incorporated in 2009 following the consolidation of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks with which Schaefer was associated for many years and the Residents’ Committee to Protect the Adirondacks. “PROTECT has elected to focus its activities within the Adirondack Park, prompting the organization to begin exploring appropriate uses for the building and protection of the highly respected library,” the College’s statement said.

President Ainlay noted that Schaefer once taught a course on the Adirondacks at the College and in 1979 was awarded doctor of science degree for his conservation efforts. Union alumni and members of the faculty have been involved in the Adirondacks for well over a century. Numerous faculty members have conducted research in the Adirondacks and incorporated it into their courses. The College also has hosted a number of academic conferences and symposia centered on the Adirondacks, and the six-million-acre Adirondack Park is a destination for student field trips.

The College will explore collaborative partnerships with other colleges and universities involved with the Adirondacks, as well as museums and preservation groups the statement said.

According to David Quinn, treasurer of PROTECT, when the transaction is complete the Adirondack Research Library will be transferred intact to the College on permanent loan, to be managed by Union’s Schaffer Library.

“Union College will provide the quality of stewardship the place deserves,” said Quinn. “The building and library and the history they represent will be associated with a first-rate institution of higher learning and the public and park will be the ultimate beneficiaries.”

How to Get Your History News Noticed


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It’s sometimes frustrating for site managers, PR folks and others who handle facility and event promotions to find out that their news never got covered here at The New York History Blog, or at local newspapers, radio, or TV.

In an effort to help local organizations make the most of media, online and otherwise, here is a list of tips for getting your press release picked-up. With over 25 years of media experience, I can say for certain that most press releases from local organizations end up in the trash because they don’t follow one or more of these few important rules:

1. Be sure your press release is complete. Always include a paragraph describing your organization that includes a URL to your website. Directions, hours, and admission fees are also helpful. Don’t assume the person on the other end of your press releases understand the shorthand or acronyms your organization uses, what city or town you are located in, when you are open, or even what your mission is.

2. A press release should be at least three paragraphs.
Sure you’ve included your date, time and place of that lecturer, but also include a paragraph or two about who they are, why the topic is important, and what makes them an expert. A calendar listing is not a press release. News media, including New York History, typically need at least THREE paragraphs.

3. Do not use strange fonts, bold, italics, and links without urls. The goal in writing a press release is to provide local media with an easy-to-use, ready-made story. If the media has to spend a lot of time reformatting all your text and putting it into paragraphs, they will probably just skip it and move on to the next press release. Always include your URL (beginning with www) even if you embed a link. Never use all caps, italics, bold, or other strange formatting.

4. Don’t use a membership development service as your media list. Membership organization and contact programs and services like Constant Contact are fine for your membership, volunteers, and friends groups, but not for media. Simply adding media addresses to your membership development software will be sure to get you ignored, or worse, marked as spam. Learn to write a press release – treat the media as media professionals, not someone you hope will become a member. When the media gets your newsletter, 9 times out of 10, they delete it. A newsletter is not a media release.

5. Make press releases read like a news story. If your press release says things like “come join us” or includes unnecessary hyperbole, you are asking for your news to be sent to the circular file. The best press release is one that the media reprints verbatim. Forget discussions of the role of the media, if your job is to get your story run as a news story – write it like a news story. One good indicator you are going down the wrong path – does your press release have exclamation points? Rhetorical questions? Avoid using the word “you” in favor of “participants”, “visitors”, etc.

6. Include photos.
Some websites, like The New York History Blog, require a photo or other illustration with every story. Many local newspapers and TV and radio stations will run a photo with your basic info on the front page, and/or on their social media profiles and webpages. If you don’t have a photo, find a relevant public domain image, or send along your logo. You are bound to get more play in the media if you provide them with what they need – often that means images. ALWAYS include a caption with the source for your image.

7. Don’t include several unrelated events at once. 
Keep press releases to one subject – a lecture series, a single event, exhibit, or conference. Listing every event on your upcoming schedule will get you tossed. Focus press releases on one specific news item or event, it’s better to send one per week if you need than to send several unrelated events at once.

8. Provide enough lead time.
Most media outlets need a few days to a week or more to run your story. Don’t expect to have a press release they received on Monday run by the end of the week. Here at The New York History Blog we have about a one or two week lead time.

9. Respond quickly to requests for more information.
If you fail to respond to a media inquiry it’s likely the reporter or editor will declare you uncooperative and won’t bother assigning your press releases to reporters to write larger stories. Provide good contact info and respond to media requests quickly.

10. Don’t send a flier or poster as a press release. We often get fliers for great events with a note asking that it be run. Odds are, like most media outlets, I don’t have the time to turn your event flier into a press release or short story and your flier doesn’t include enough information anyway. Fliers and posters are great for the wall, but they are not press releases. Send your poster as a jpg and ask media to post it to their Facebook or Twitter accounts a day or two before your event instead.

Questions? Comments? Drop me an e-mail at jnwarrenjr@gmail.com.

John Warren
Editor

 

Fort Ticonderoga Names Interpretation Director


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Fort Ticonderoga has announced the appointment of Stuart Lilie to serve as Director of Interpretation at Fort Ticonderoga, one of the oldest and most significant historic sites in North America.

“Stuart Lilie arrives at the Fort,” said Beth Hill “with tremendous vision and enthusiasm for the Fort’s future. He is extremely competent as a leader in the profession and has a clear commitment to the high quality historic interpretation required for the Fort to attain its vision to be the premier military historic site and museum in North America.”

He will begin work at Fort Ticonderoga on April 25, 2011 and will be responsible for the development and implementation of Fort Ticonderoga’s Interpretive Department.

With a Bachelor of Arts in History from The College of William & Mary, Stuart Lilie has extensive knowledge of material culture, trades and historic interpretation. He has worked in several interpretive and trades positions at Colonial Williamsburg and served as an apprentice archaeologist with the Association for the Preservation of Virginia Antiquities at Jamestown. An accomplished horseman and saddler, Mr. Lilie began and currently operates the only 18th century reproduction saddle company. He has consulted on historical equestrian matters for films at Mount Vernon, 96 Battlefield, Moore’s Creek, Vicksburg and Cowpens National Park.

An avid Revolutionary war and Seven Years war re-enactor for 15 years, Mr. Lilie has taken his belief in high standards of authenticity to work on the development of educational programming for many national sites including Colonial Williamsburg, Putnam Memorial State Park, Fort Dobbs State Historic Site, Minute Man National Park, Endview Plantation, Virginia War Museum, and Middleton Place. “I am both honored and excited to be part of such a great team, making such a huge difference at one of America’s most historic sites.”, said Mr. Lilie about his new post.

Photo: Fort Ticonderoga’s Director of Interpretation, Stuart Lilie. Lilie will begin work at the Fort on April 25, 2011.

Albany County Hall of Records Open House


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In honor of the Albany County Hall of Records (ACHOR) 10th Anniversary at 95 Tivoli Street, Albany County Clerk Thomas G. Clingan has announced that there will be an open house at the Hall of Records on April 27, 2011 from 2-4 PM. This current location is the third home of the Hall of Records; the first was the Albany High School Annex at 27 Western Avenue from 1982 -1986, followed by 250 South Pearl Street from 1986-2001.

Exhibits and tours of the Hall of Records will be available, including areas normally off-limits to visitors. ACHOR presently holds 12,890 cubic feet of archival records and 75,025 cubic feet of inactive records, all stored in a secure warehouse setting that is significantly more cost-effective for records storage than regular office space. A 992 square-foot concrete vault located within the building stores the most rare and valuable records, including the original 1686 Dongan Charter of the City of Albany.

ACHOR is a joint program of the County and City of Albany, making records available to the public in a state-of-the-art facility. Among the items on special display on April 27 will be: Albany County Sheriff’s Department Bertillon Mug Shots, 1896; Civil War Allotments and Bounty Records, 1862-1864; Register of Manumitted Slaves, 1800-1828 and the Court of Fort Orange and Beverwijck Minutes, 1652-1656.

Further information about the Albany County Hall of Records and directions to the facility can be found online.

If you are interested in attending the open house or a tour of the Hall of Records, please contact Deputy Director Craig Carlson at 436-3663 ext. 204 or ccarlson@albanycounty.com

Hyde’s Rembrandt on Loan to Louvre


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The Hyde Collection in Glens Falls has announced that its prized Christ with Folded Arms by Rembrandt van Rijn is now on display in the Louvre in Paris as part of a landmark exhibition titled “Rembrandt and the Face of Jesus.”

The Hyde masterwork plays a key role in shaping the thesis of the exhibition, which will be seen in three major museum venues. When the exhibition closes at the Louvre, it travels to the Philadelphia Museum of Art where it will be shown from August through October, 2011 and then to the Detroit Institute of Arts for exhibition beginning in February, 2012. Continue reading

Student Organized Exhibit Highlights Museum Collection


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”Follow the Light: Fine and Decorative Arts in the Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute,” opening April 14 is an exhibition organized by students in the Exploring Museum Careers High School Partnership Program, and examines a broad range of works from the Museum’s collection by tracing the connection each shares with a recent Museum acquisition.

Josiah McElheny’s, Chromatic Modernism (Yellow, Blue, Red), (2008), chosen for the museum collection by Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art, Mary Murray in honor of the MWPAI 75th anniversary, is the centerpiece for the exhibition. The exhibition shows how such diverse art works as a Tiffany lamp, c. 1900, and a Stuart Davis watercolor, Colors of Spring in the Harbor (1939), are a part of the history behind McElheny’s work, setting up an unexpected relationship between these and a variety of other works from the collection.

A gallery talk will be presented by the exhibition’s student curators at 5:30 p.m. A reception will follow the talk. Follow the Light remains on view through July 7.

The students, Amy Gleitsmann, Journey Gyi, Annalyn McNamara, Andy Mendez, and Roxanna Pineda, from Thomas R. Proctor High School in Utica, and Eliza Bell, Mary Bonomo, and Marlee Mitchell, from Clinton Senior High School, all worked together with Institute staff on all aspects of producing the exhibition, from selecting the objects to leading tours. The students met and worked with other museum staff to learn about each person’s career background and role at the museum. The students completed regular assignments and participated in art research, publication design, marketing, exhibition layout and installation, arranging public programs and tours; and producing an audioguide of the exhibition.

For more information about the program, contact Museum Education Director, April Oswald, at 797-0000 ext. 2144, or aoswald@mwpai.org. Upon the opening of the exhibition, listen to the exhibition audioguide at www.mwpai.org/museum/events.

North Country Archival Conference Friday


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Anyone interested in learning more about conservation, archival security, digitizing photographs, the history of the Adirondacks, and a whole lot more is invited to come and spend a few hours of their time in return for a wealth of knowledge.

The Northern New York Library Network based in Potsdam is hosting its second Annual North Country Archives and Special Collections Conference: Efficiency, Effectiveness and Education on April 8, 2011 at the Crowne Plaza Resort, Lake Placid. The cost for all attendees is only $10.00. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. with the conference running from 9:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Attendees of the North Country Archives and Special Collections Conference will have the opportunity to select from two of four morning sessions, then attend an afternoon presentation immediately following lunch, which is included in the price.

The first Session I choice will “Large Conference Benefits and Highlights of the 2010 Society of American Archivists Annual Conference,” presented by Jane Subramanian, SUNY Potsdam. During this session, the benefits of attending the larger archival conferences and involvement with professional organizations for those working in smaller archives will be discussed. Conferences and professional organizations from the Society of American Archivists, Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference, New England Archivists, and New York Archives Conference will be examined. Educational and other opportunities will also be covered. News and highlights of the Society of American Archivists 2010 Annual Conference that are useful for all sizes of archives will also be presented.

The second Session I choice will be “Conservation 101,” presented by Barbara Eden, Director, Department of Preservation and Collection Maintenance, Cornell University. As custodians of our cultural heritage, we have the responsibility to ensure the long-term survival of these resources. Participants will learn about the elements of a preservation program that can easily be implemented into their institutions. This session will provide a beginner’s course in conservation of archival materials. Students will learn how to get started, what planning must take place, policies and procedures, and care and handling of materials held in many archival collections.

The first Session II choice will be “On Our Watch: Security in Archives and Special Collections,” presented by Nicolette A. Dobrowolski, Head of Public Services, Special Collections Research Center, Syracuse University Library. Archives and libraries with historical and special collections materials sometimes do not recognize how vulnerable their collections are to loss. That is, until you cannot find that one important book or folder for your researcher… The question on a lot of our minds today is “How can we fulfill the need to provide access to our collections while simultaneously protecting them?”

Collections have the potential to be threatened by theft, vandalism, natural disasters, and damage from careless handling or poor environmental conditions. Responsibility must be taken to protect collections today so they are available to future generations of researchers. This presentation will help participants gain the knowledge needed to start developing or revising strategies and policies with regards to security of archives and special collections materials. Topics will include overall security risk awareness, developing institutional policies, facility design, reading room management and design, staff hiring and training, collection management and record keeping and theft (including insider theft and responses to theft). Real life scenarios and practices will be used as examples.

The second Session II choice will be “Digitizing Your Historical Photographs,” presented by Denis Meadows, Regional Advisory Officer, NYS Archives. Today many historical records repositories are looking at digitization for their collections, including their historical photographs. Digitization of these valuable historical photographs can be a great way to share history with a wider audience and, at the same time, save wear and tear on the original photographs. This session will look at what repositories can digitize and why they should consider digitization, as well as present an overview of the scanning and metadata development processes.

Following lunch, Caroline M. Welsh, Director Emerita of the Adirondack Museum, will present a lecture on “From Axes to Zootropes: Museum Collections and Community History.”

“Within the walls of the Adirondack Museum in Blue Mountain Lake are century-old tools that harvested trees and earth-bound minerals and ores; vehicles that transported people and goods on land and water; objects from camps and homes; and artifacts that picture the past – thousands of documents from the region, historic photographs, and works of art,” Ms. Welsh commented.

Objects document how people lived — elitist and non-elitist. An object tells us about the people who made and used it, and also about the people for whom it was made. Objects also document intangibles like attitudes, values, and ideas. All in all, the Adirondack Museum Collections number over 100,000 objects, pieces and parts. The late Arthur Schlesinger said, “History is to a nation as memory is to the individual.”

While this lecture is but a cursory overview of the complex history of the Adirondacks, it signals the importance of preserving the region’s material culture as a memory bank for the stories of the people who lived, worked, and played in the Adirondacks.

For more information or to sign-up, go online to www.nnyln.org and click on “Classes,” or call 315-265-1119.